Earlier today, the Maryland Senate passed SB 297 by a vote of 30-16. The bill will now move to the House of Delegates where it will need to be approved by the House Judiciary Committee and the full House of Delegates before being sent to Gov. O’Malley.
If S.B. 297 is passed in the House and signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, it would no longer be a criminal offense to possess up to about one-third of an ounce of marijuana in Maryland. Instead, police would simply issue a citation, and violators would pay the $100 ticket by mail. No arrest, no jail, just a small fine. That’s still not as good as Colorado or Washington, but it’s a dramatic improvement.
Also on the agenda in Maryland today was a hearing for H.B. 1453, which would tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. MPP’s Dan Riffle testified in support of the bill, which was the first of its kind to get a hearing in the Maryland Legislature.